Dickinson ISD starting year with $1.2 million grant award

There will be an increased focus on mental health throughout Dickinson ISD this school year thanks to a $1.2 million grant from the Rebuild Texas Fund, which is a collaborative project of the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and the OneStar Foundation to support the rebuilding efforts in communities impacted by Hurricane Harvey. The grant was approved and accepted by the Dickinson ISD Board of Trustees at the August 26 meeting.

“Two years ago today, Hurricane Harvey covered many parts of Dickinson ISD with several feet of flood water from Hurricane Harvey. Residents were faced with the daunting task of overcoming and rebuilding,” said Superintendent Carla Voelkel. “Now two years later, this process still continues for many families and it has taken an emotional toll on our students, their parents and the community.”

The grant will go specifically towards the hiring of a Social Emotional Learning Specialist and a Licensed Professional Counselor for the 2019-2020 school year and will provide numerous training opportunities for Dickinson ISD counselors, nurses, social workers, teachers and administration.

In addition, there will be expanded parent engagement opportunities, including a parent resource room, parent engagement events, campus meetings with behavioral health counselors and parents and scheduled training with outside mental health professionals. The “Character Strong” curriculum introduced at Dickinson High School this past year, will be expanded districtwide to teach character development and social/emotional learning skills at all grade levels.

“The goal is to build a sustainable social emotional learning model that will help Gator students and their families build resilience through a focus on early childhood collaborative, restorative practices, mental health partnerships, trauma informed care and more,” said Laurie Rodriguez, Dickinson ISD Executive Director for Special Programs.

“The grant from Rebuild Texas Fund aims to give students and teachers the tools to recover from the mental trauma of Harvey and become more resilient to future disasters,” said Chris Hensman, Rebuild Texas Fund Program Officer.

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